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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Pools at Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter

Our family enjoys spending time in and near the water, so when we visit Walt Disney World, we try to take in the pools at our resort or water park—click here to read more about Typhoon Lagoon.

Since our favorite on-site resort is Port Orleans Riverside, this post is dedicated to the pools at Port Orleans—both Riverside and French Quarter.

The sister resorts allow guest to use the main pools at both resorts. I use the term main pools to mean the themed pool at each resort, as Port Orleans Riverside also had “quiet pools” that are nestled among the buildings of the resort. A “quiet pool” does not have a lifeguard, slide, spa/hot tub, or specific kiddie pool. Main pools are typically themed, have water slides—at the moderate and deluxe resorts, have hours when life guards are on duty, typically have a spa/hot tub nearby, and usually offer a kiddie pool. There is usually a bar, locker room, and restrooms near a main pool, while a quiet pool may offer a bathroom changing area. Just as there is a hierarchy of Disney resorts from value to moderate to deluxe—the pools follow the same hierarchy. The more deluxe the resort, the more deluxe the resort pool—typically.

Laundry facilities are found near the quiet pools at Port Orleans Riverside, while at Port Orleans French Quarter, the laundry facilities are near the main pool.

The main pool at Port Orleans Riverside is located on Ol’ Man Island in the middle of the resort. The theming is that of an old fashioned swimming hole complete with water chutes, water falls, and a water slide nestled on a “hill” near the pool. The swimming area is quite large and the deepest sections are about 5’6” deep. Entrance to the pool is by steps located at various points around the pool. A large spa/hot tub is steps from the main pool, as is a round kiddie splash pool.

The deck area at Port Orleans Riverside’s main pool offers quite a bit of shade as tall pine trees surround the pool. If you are looking for a place to catch some rays, it can be found if you select your deck chair strategically.

You will find a bin of clean towels to use while at the pool as well as a towel return area so there is no need to bring your own beach towels or take towels from your resort hotel room to use at the pool.

There are plenty of lifeguards on duty and the slide is only open when they are on duty. Guests are welcome to use the pool at other times at their own risk.

The quiet pools at Port Orleans Riverside are spacious—lots of room for swimming, have one set of steps for entering and exiting the pool, have a maximum depth of 5’ but seemed to have a larger portion of the pool that is deeper than at the main pool. The deck space is very generous at the quiet pools and is less shaded. If memory serves, towels are also available for use at the quiet pools.

The main, and only pool, at Port Orleans French Quarter is located in the middle of the resort facing the “river.” The pool is themed for celebrating Mardi Gras with jazz playing reptiles and a giant serpent providing the slide. We found the main pool here to be less deep than compared to Riverside, with maximum depths reaching less than 5’. The curvy edges are welcoming and provide several set of steps to enter the pool.

There is a round kiddie splash pool almost adjacent to the main pool. Finding the spa/hot tub is a bit trickier as it is a bit away from the main pool—back towards the main building opposite the playground. The spa/hot tub is surrounded by trees giving it a more secluded feel than the spa/hot tub at Riverside.

The deck area at the main pool at French Quarter is quite large, has various layers, and has less shaded areas than the deck area at Riverside. Towels are also available for guest use at the pool.

Lifeguards are also attentive and plentiful at the pool at the French Quarter. Again, the slide is open only when guards are in place.

How to guests get to use both pools? Guests can walk (about 10 minutes) from one resort to the other, or take the boat that shuttles guests between the resorts and Downtown Disney. We have taken the boat on several occasions. On one of our more recent trips, we brought our swimsuits with us as we left Riverside for a trip to Downtown Disney. After our visit to Downtown Disney, we took the boat back to French Quarter, as the boat dock is steps from the main pool. We then enjoyed an afternoon swim, then hopped back on the boat for the ride to Riverside. Easy and fun!

So, which pool is better? I don’t have to answer that question as guests get to use BOTH main pools!

Some guests heading to Walt Disney World plan to swim upon their arrival at their resort. They pack their swimsuits in their carry on bags so that they can change when arriving at their resort. By the time they are done swimming, the rest of their luggage has been magically transported to their room. Only at Disney!

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